After making the powerful and important DO THE RIGHT THING, Spike Lee took a break from controversial social issues and brought a quieter, more introspective work to the screen in MO' BETTER BLUES, a funny, moody jazz picture that focuses more on relationships and character.
The film follows Bleek Gilliam (Denzel Washington), a popular and talented jazz trumpeter whose life--both personally and professionally--is about to come to a turning point. The women in Bleek's life are Indigo (Joie Lee, the director's sister), a schoolteacher who genuinely loves Bleek and
feels a great need for stability in their relationship, and Clarke (newcomer Cynda Williams), an aspiring singer who also cares for Bleek a great deal and who wants to be included in his band. Self-centered Bleek won't even consider Clarke's talents, and he refuses to commit to Indigo. He tells
Clarke that "everything else [in life] is secondary" to his music, and this single-mindedness eventually costs him the love of both women.
MO' BETTER BLUES is a very entertaining film. Full of wonderful music, grand visuals, and melodramatic plot twists, the movie is laced with very funny moments, as well as interesting insights into the world of jazz and the plight of the dedicated musician. A lot goes on in the plot, but the
pacing is agreeably zippy and the characters are fleshed out in enthrallingly complex fashion. Lee has again created a fun film to watch that is also an insightful presentation of a specifically African-American milieu.
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- Released: 1990
- Rating: R
- Review: After making the powerful and important DO THE RIGHT THING, Spike Lee took a break from controversial social issues and brought a quieter, more introspective work to the screen in MO' BETTER BLUES, a funny, moody jazz picture that focuses more on relations… (more)